Elvet Methodist Church supports a different project each year, alternating between local projects, and overseas projects.
In 2009 - 2010 we supported Global Care in Cambodia. Projects supported in other years are:
- 2016 - 2017 Project: St Cuthbert’s Hospice, Retail Van
- 2015 - 2016 Project: the Grace Haven Orphanage, Myanmar (formerly known as Burma)
- 2014 - 2015 Project: Key Project, South Tyneside
- 2013 - 2014 Project: The Kwagala Trust
- 2012 - 2013 Project: Durham Youth for Christ - Mentoring Scheme
- 2011 - 2012 Project: New Hope in Cambodia
- 2010 - 2011 Project: Justice First
- 2009 - 2010 Project: The Kwagala Trust
- 2008 - 2009 Project: Beverley School
The church project from September 2007 to August 2008 was to help vulnerable children on the streets and rubbish dumps in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, through the work of the Christian charity, Global Care
This is the place one goes to when there is no place lower to go – ‘Smokey Mountain’, the municipal rubbish dump in the Stung Meanchey district of Phnom Penh. Watch the kids there, well over 1000 of them, pick through fresh medical waste with their bare hands, throwing plastic syringe cases in their bags and baskets, tossing used needles on the ground. Watch a bunch of them surround the 10-wheeled pick-up trucks like a pack of starving city dogs, nudging each other for position to be the first to sift through the new pile of trash with their picks, pokers, and even bare hands. They even clamber into its ‘jaws’ to get first pick: some of them don’t clamber out again. And Smokey Mountain really does smoke: there are small fires scattered about, though some of that smoke may well be noxious gases.
Youngsters toil for up to 16 hours here, digging through 5-metre-high mounds of refuse in search of plastic, metal, and anything that might be worth the effort required to pick it up. About 2000 riels (23p!!) will be their reward for a long day spent wading through garbage where everything – and that does mean every single thing – gets picked over. If it can be reused, they will dig it out. Despite a job that both figuratively and literally stinks, they haven't lost the will to work.
Take an interpreter and talk to a few of them. Most of them are quite friendly. They'll laugh with you (or, more likely, at you), smile and even say "hello". Maybe you'll meet Poung, a 13-year-old girl with a real sweet smile but completely illiterate, never having spent one ay of her life in a classroom. Her whole family works here – those that are still alive. None of them know where the next meal might be coming from. Still, as far as she and many other hopeless girls here are concerned, this is heaven compared to being sold by the family for the sex trade in Phnom Penh.
And you think your life has its bad moments
Elvet is helping Global Care raise money to fund a centre to help hundreds of these children by providing:
Non-formal schooling Regular nutritious meals
Clinics offering primary health and hygiene to families
With a feeling of some pride (and of even more amazement!) we can reveal that the total donated to the Project exceeded £19,000
A very big thank-you must certainly go to all those who have contributed in any way.